Dubai, November 20: Shubhankar Sharma ended a long season lasting 26 weeks of action with a birdie on the 18th at the Earth Course at the Jumeirah Golf State. It may seem a small compensation for a week that did not go his way, as he finished the day at 1-over 73 and a total oof 3-over 291 tied for 44th.
Yet that one final birdie at the 2022 DP World Tour may have the gain that will get him into the 2023 Open Championship. Sharma finished the season in the 29th place on the Race to Dubai. With the Top-30 of the DP World Tour getting into the world’s oldest Open, Sharma will get to celebrate his 27th birthday (July 21) at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake from July 20-23, 2023.
Spain’s Jon Rahm, one of the most outspoken and much-loved golfers on the DP World Tour, turned in a commanding final round show to beat Rory McIlroy in the race to become the first to win a third DP World Tour Championship. Rahm shot 5-under 67 on Sunday and totalled 20-under 268 to win by two shots over Tyrell Hatton (66) and Alex Noren (67).
Rory McIlroy, the World’s No. 1 player, did not win and finished sole fourth after a final round 68 for a total of 16-under 272 and four adrift of Rahm. McIlroy will stay as the No. 1 while Rahm will stay at No. 5 in world rankings.
However, McIlroy, the leader on the DP World Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings, stayed on top and became only the second player to win both the DP World Tour’s season-long rankings and the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup – the first was Henrik Stenson in 2016.
For Sharma the final event of 2023 was bitter-sweet. He said, “That (ensuring a spot in the Open) is something to feel happy about. But after last week’s finish (third) at Nedbank Challenge, I was looking at closing the season better. Yet, it was a long and eventful season during which there was lot of travel, some great results and some disappointment at getting Covid in the middle of the year before the Open at St. Andrews.”
On his play this week, Sharma, who has two European Tour titles, smiled and said, “I just could not get the putter to work. Also, I had some trouble with my side. It was just one of those weeks, when I did not have my ‘A’ game. But still a few good results, some less than modest in the middle of the year. Overall, it was alright, but could have been much better. The good thing is I am feeling more confident, the game is in a good place and the new season is something I am looking forward to, but after some rest.”
Rahm has now won three DP World Tour Championships in four appearances, adding to his victories in 2017 and 2019. It was his fifth Rolex Series title and he now has the most Rolex Series wins.
It was also his second win of the 2022 DP World Tour season, adding to his victory at the ‘acciona Open de España’ last month.